I am a 29-year-old, relatively healthy female, and I’ve never had problems with my period until last few months.
After being 12 days late; I did a pregnancy test, which showed a negative result. I waited for 10 more days, took another pregnancy test – still negative. Meanwhile, I was feeling cranky, bloated and quite cramping, but did not have my period.
I was very confused and decided to go to an OB-GYN doctor and find out what was going on. The doctor’s answer surprised me a lot; and honestly, changed my perception about woman’s cycle and what can influence it. I will get back to my story and share my experience further in this article.
First, let’s discuss some common questions that women are usually concerned about, when it comes to their menstrual cycles.
Can you miss a period and not be pregnant?
One of the common signs of pregnancy is missing your monthly period. However, missed periods may not necessarily indicate the onset of pregnancy. Most women think of pregnancy whenever they experience missed periods. Any woman can experience delayed periods as long as there are changes in the body hormones.
It is quite possible to have a negative pregnancy test yet your periods are late. In that case, you need to figure out the possible causes of your missed period.
How long is it normal for a period to be late? How many days after a missed period should you worry?
The average woman ovulates every 24- 38 days, which lasts about 2 to 9 days.
There are two times in a woman’s life when it is absolutely normal to have irregular periods: when it starts, for the first few months; and when menopause happens. Other than then that, most of the women have their periods every 28 days.
What causes delayed period apart from pregnancy?
So what really causes late periods? Apart from being pregnant, other factors can also disrupt the body’s hormonal balance consequently affecting the menstrual cycle.
Here are several factors that may cause late periods.
1. Certain lifestyles affect the body’s hormonal balance.
Women who very actively participate in sports, marathons, often experience irregular periods. For instance, gymnasts, cheerleaders, and athletes who practice for more than 6 hours a day, more commonly have missed periods.
Stress is one of the most influencing causes of a delayed period. If your life is full of anxiety and stress, your menstrual cycle is more likely to be irregular. Furthermore, stress can lead to more serious health problems.
If you missed a period due to stress, consider learning new stress management habits that can help reduce stress levels.
3. Health problems.
Certain health conditions can as well affect your hormone imbalance due to abnormal hormone release.
If you find your missed period is due to illnesses, make sure you get immediate help from a doctor or medical practitioner.
4. Abnormal body weight
If you are too skinny or overweight, it is more likely to affect your period. In fact, ovulation process often stops in women who have anorexia or eating problems.
Obesity, on the other hand, may also cause your period to stop. Try to maintain a healthy weight for a healthy feminine system.
5. Chemical causes of a delayed period
Certain medications also affect the normal hormone balance, including anti-depressants, benzodiazepine-based medications, antipsychotics, or even blood pressure medications.
Also, if you take aspirin regularly, you may notice that your periods are heavier or longer than usual.
A missed period can occur if you started switching from one contraceptive to the other or by trying out new ones. Also, if you take your birth control pills irregularly, it may mess up your cycle as well. That is exactly what happened to me!!
As, Dr. Kaplan , the OB-GYN doctor that I went to, said: “You cannot take your birth control pills only the months you are sexually active, and stop in between. You either take the pills every day, every month, or don’t take them at all, and use other types of contraceptives.” Apparently, I screwed-up my cycle, by taking the pills irregularly, only when I thought I would need them.
“Birth control pills contain a mix of estrogen and progesterone hormones that prevent ovulation. If you take birth control pills regularly, these hormones prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. After you stop taking the pills, it may take up to several months for your period to be normal again.”, – the doctor explained.
After all, I had two options.
First option was to start taking birth control pills as soon as possible to normalize my cycle.
The second option was not to take any actions and just wait until my period comes.
I chose the second option. In my case, it took 3 months, for my period to become normal again. I did not have a period for three months in a row. Furthermore, I was bloated and feeling cramps all those three months. Honestly, I did not feel pretty at all during that time. Thanks God, my period is back to normal now! 🙂
Next month, I am planning to start taking birth control pills again, because of the benefits they offer beyond just preventing pregnancy- like fighting acne breakouts and unwanted body hair, for example. However, this time, understanding the above, I will be more responsible in taking them regularly and on time.
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